Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Visa Applications

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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165. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which efforts are being made to expedite the processing of the relevant visas for construction workers coming here from abroad and likely to make a positive contribution to the construction sector; if special arrangements can be made to clear any backlogs as quickly as possible; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30165/21]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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My Department started a limited resumption of visa services from 26 April 2021. During this time we have recommenced accepting and processing all Long Stay “D” visa applications (with the exception of English Language Study); those identified under our current criteria as Emergency/Priority visas; and applications from people entitled to avail of the provisions of the EU Free Movement Directive.

Preclearance applications under the five existing schemes below are also being accepted and processed:

- Lay Volunteer;

- Minister of Religion;

- De Facto Partner of an Irish National;

- De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a non EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement; and

- Family members seeking to join a UK National in Ireland.

It remains the position that we are not accepting any short stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria set out below. The suspension of short stay and English Language Study applications will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming weeks.

Certain Priority/Emergency cases that will continue to be accepted/processed include the following:

- Workers or self-employed persons exercising critical occupations including healthcare workers, frontier and posted workers as well as seasonal workers as referred to in the Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak;

- People travelling for business/employment purposes and granted an employment permit by Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to meet an enterprise’s key business requirements;

- transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory as well as those merely transiting;

- patients travelling for imperative medical reasons;

- pupils, students and trainees who travel abroad on a daily basis and Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study;

- persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons;

- diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these organisations, military personnel and police officers, and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions;

- passengers in transit;

- seafarers;

- journalists, when performing their duties.

There are currently no backlogs in the processing of employment visas.

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